An unlikely competitor has been making waves in the sustainability market – carbon removal. When most companies are focused on carbon offsets or green energy to lower their environmental impact, Charm Industrial is looking to take the road less traveled and delve into the world of atmospheric carbon removal.
As society shifts towards sustainability, new businesses are popping up everywhere, looking to jump on the opportunity to help change the world. New start-ups mean new innovative ideas and an influx of individuals putting their best foot forward to help combat climate change.
The most agreed-upon way to lower emissions is to phase out the usage of fossil fuels and replace them with alternative energy. This alternative energy can come in many forms, such as solar, wind, hydro, or even geothermal. These energy sources are abundant throughout the globe, renewable, and most importantly, have a significantly lower environmental footprint in comparison to that of fossil fuels.
One area of discussion that isn’t always mentioned when the topic of renewable energy comes up is that once fossil fuels are phased out, will it be enough to remove the current greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere? This topic is not explored as heavily as others within the field, and there are some varying opinions as to whether or not this will be necessary. Some scientists believe that simply switching to renewable energy will be enough, and others make the case for needing further action after the full switch to renewable energy has been done.
Greenhouse gasses do serve a purpose and can benefit humankind if they are kept at very low levels. Without any greenhouse gasses at all, the earth would be considered too cold for humans to survive on it. Small levels of greenhouse gasses warm the earth up to a livable temperature that helps sustain life. Currently, there are too many greenhouse gasses permeating the atmosphere, which is where advocacy groups come in, and the push for renewable energy was born. But what’s the limit on greenhouse gasses?
Paving the Way
Regardless of the answer, one start-up, Charm Industrial, is looking to take the problem into its own hands by removing carbon from the atmosphere.
Charm began as a start-up that was focused on building a pilot plant based on hydrogen fuel. It wasn’t until one of the founders, Shaun Meehan, began to have second thoughts that the current mission of Charm was born.
Charm’s new goal is to help the earth move to a net-zero future, when the number of emissions produced is offset by 100%, or net-negative future, when the number of emissions produced is offset by more than 100%. After switching from focusing on hydrogen energy to carbon removal, the company took off and began their journey by helping to create a truly cleaner future.
The idea is that Charm will capture excess carbon in the atmosphere and store it in rock, soil, the earth’s crust, and plants. This process is done by converting waste biomass into bio-oil and then injecting that bio-oil into the aforementioned sources. Carbon removal is still a relatively untouched industry, which means that Charm is quickly making a name for itself and paving the way for other start-ups and established companies to follow suit.
Currently, there are what are known as ‘carbon sinks’ throughout the globe that sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Perhaps one of the most common carbon sinks are trees. The problem with growing more trees is the amount of land that is needed, the risk for forest fires, and the potential pests that can arise from such an abundance of forests. It is for reasons such as this that Charm has decided to put its focus on carbon removal rather than other companies that concentrate on carbon offsets.
Another obstacle that comes with these naturally occurring sinks is that their presence makes carbon removal more difficult and an energy-intensive and expensive process. Charm claims that their method is sustainable and yields a net benefit result, but the only way to know for sure if that is true is if they were to release and environmental product declarations (EPD). EPDs are a document that contains a given product's life-cycle assessment. It is incredibly important that EPDs are created for the sake of transparency and to help give the company insight as to what environmental damage their products have. If Charm claims to have a more energy-efficient way of removing carbon from the atmosphere, then that statement must be backed up with the proper documentation.
Some individuals hold gloomy views of what the future may hold. With a constant barrage of media coverage focused on the negative outcomes of climate change, it is hard to think otherwise. Start-ups such as Charm working toward ambitious goals such as carbon removal will create a ripple effect of continued awareness and technological advancements. A continuation of sustainable growth such as this will eventually mediate the ever-growing fear of climate change as the world begins to heal itself.